Discovering The Love Of A Pet

Discovering The Love Of A Pet

“Love is a four-legged word.”
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Anyone who has a pet knows what a big role they play in one’s life. This being said, when I was growing up, the only pets I had were turtles or fish, and I was perfectly content this way. I liked having pets that you did not have to directly interact with, and that you could take care of without having to entertain or show affection to. Although I loved every pet I had, I never really understood just how much you could love an animal and how much they could love you back, and what a great effect they could have on your life. This all changed my freshman year of high school, however, when my family and I had a very special visitor in our backyard.

It was September of 2011. As I was getting ready for school one morning, my mom told me to hurry downstairs because there was something she needed to show me. Once I got there, I followed her outside and looked down into our backyard to find a cat laying on one of the chairs outside our shed, looking like she was just relaxing. As the days went by, we saw the cat more and more often, until, one day, we looked outside our backdoor to see her sitting there, looking in at us. We went over to the door, and she began rubbing her head against the screen, wanting us to pet her. This was when we noticed something that we did not expect—she was declawed, so she probably someone’s pet.

A few days later, we took her to a vet to see if anyone had been looking for a lost cat, or if she had a chip to be able to see who she belonged to. From everything that they could possibly find, she did not belong to anyone, but she had obviously been a house cat at some point to have been declawed. At this point, we knew that we could not let her live outside, because she had no way to defend herself without claws. After a few more vet visits and a family discussion that was not too long, we ultimately decided to adopt her, having no idea at the time what a big impact she would have on our lives.

Juke, which we came to name her, became an incredibly large part of our family. She loved everyone she met, was gentle and sweet, and wanted nothing more than to eat, sleep, play with her strings, and snuggle. I truly believe that she was not like most other cats—I never once heard her growl or hiss, and she never went to bite anyone, ever. You really would have needed to meet her to understand, but we all thought of her as more of a person than a cat. It was not long at all before we could not imagine our lives before she came into them.

This past April, we had to make the indescribably tough decision to put Juke down after we discovered that she had lymphoma. In the four years that she was a part of our family, she showed us all the level of unconditional love that develops between people and their pets. We all truly believe that she came to us for a reason, and that there is nothing like the feeling that not only did we rescue her, but that she rescued and helped us, too. Even though we miss her, we are so thankful that she came to us, and chose us to love.

Now, after many months of talking about it, my family and I decided to adopt two kittens, whom we named Salvatore and Valentino. Though they are not biological brothers, the same cat raised them, and they do not know life without each other, so we could not even fathom separating them. While I can honestly say that I was reluctant at first to adopt new kittens, because I would always compare them to Juke in my mind, I am so glad we did. When you go to the shelters and see all the cats there looking for a home, it makes you want to adopt them all. Although choosing only two was hard, I think we picked the perfect ones.

We have only had Sal and Tino for about a month now, and we already are surprised we waited so long to choose to adopt again. We love them more than we could have thought possible. There is nothing like seeing them come running up to you because they are so happy to see you the second they see you get up in the morning and the second you get home at the end of the day. Even if they do something wrong, which they do quite often since they are only a few months old and are just learning, they immediately want to make it up to you by sitting on your lap or wanting to follow you around just to be with you. It is like they want to prove to you that love you even more than you love them, if that is even possible.

It is amazing the love that you develop for a pet, and, them for you. It is a feeling that is one-of-a kind and something that everyone should experience in one way or another. Until I experienced it for myself, I never could have thought that having my cats would mean so much to me. I know that Juke, Sal, and Tino are all everlasting members of my family that I truly love with all my heart. I cannot even believe that I had no interest in having cats at one time, because, now, I can wholeheartedly say that I do not know what I would do without them.

Cover Image Credit: Gianna Pisano

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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You May Want To Rethink Your Aesthetic Succulents

Why these plants may not be right for you.

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Succulents are in right now. All over Instagram, you can see pictures of the colorful and varied plants in all sorts of containers. They are incredibly popular for dorm rooms especially and marketed as such. Whether you want your dorm room to be #goals or you're chasing an aesthetic you like, it can seem rather tempting to just buy a few cacti or succulents and stick them in a mason jar. They are so cute and cheap after all. However, what most people do not know is these plants can be rather tricky to take care of. We all have a friend who kills every plant unlucky enough to fall into their care, even the cactus which is considered to be virtually indestructible. It isn't because they are incapable or have the opposite of a green thumb, rather, they lack an understanding of plant care.

Succulents are plants with fleshy leaves. They are made to retain water in arid conditions. Many people believe this to mean they need next to no water. Which, in a sense, is true, but it also makes them incredibly sensitive to too much or too little water. Additionally, they're commonly sold in closed containers like jars, meaning they do not have a drainage hole. This is important because if the water cannot drain out, it sits in the container with the plant and rots the roots. The plant is then unable to sustain itself and will die. It is very hard to revive a plant once the rot has set in.

A succulent in a teacup looks amazing but is just not practical. Often, the pictures that blow up on Instagram show plants that will not survive very long. Another thing people fail to take into consideration is sunlight. Too little sun and these fickle little plants lose their leaves, too much and they get sunburn. If you happen to live in a dorm, it is best to consider which way your windows face before investing in these plants. As well as consider how much effort you are willing and able to put into it. Knowing which species of succulent is helpful because a quick google search can tell you how much water and sun they require.

Succulents are not for everyone, but I don't mean to make it sound like these plants are impossible to take care of. With a little research and upkeep, it is possible to select a plant that will fit your room. Watching a plant thrive and grow in the right conditions can be rewarding. Watching a plant wither away is disappointing at best and upsetting at worst. Healthy plants make for better pictures. There are many other indoor plants available that do not require such careful care. Many department and home improvement stores will actually have the care requirements on the plant. You just have to check the tag before you buy. At the end of the day, if you want a decoration I would recommend fake succulents. They are much more low maintenance.

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